I will be the first to admit I have been rather reluctant to jump into nodes, both material nodes and compositing. They have been around for some time and I am just now starting to dip my little tootsies into the admittedly confusing arena of nodes. And there is the whole problem, they are rather confusing.
Every time I look at a node setup, all I see is a mess of little node doohickeys and a confusion of wires crossing all over them. I have attempted to play with them here and there, but honestly, I have been doing the “poke it with a sharp stick” method. Sometime I get cool results,sometimes I don’t and these are ridiculously simple setups. Anything more complicated than one or two node doohickeys and I am totally lost.
Which makes the Introduction to Compositing in Blender tutorial series at Blender Cookie a must watch for artists like me. Bartek Skorupa has picked up the series that Jonathan started and has expanded the initial introduction into an ongoing series about how to get the most out of compositing.
So far he has released parts 2 & 3, where he explains in more detail how compositing works in general. In part 2, he focuses on the basic math behind blending modes so that you know which mode to use for the result you are trying to achieve. In part 3, he introduces and explains more passes, render layers and how to separate out objects and materials for more control.
There is a lot, (and I mean A LOT) of information presented in these tutorials. So if you are having problems “getting” compositing, I bet the answer is in there. 🙂 I know he cleared up quite a bit of confusion for me and I am looking forward to the rest of the series.